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Public Policy
Overviews & Strategies for Reform

Work and Family Policy Briefs from the Sloan Research Network
2007. The Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College provides a series of work-life policy briefs for state legislators. While the Policy Briefing Series was created to inform state lawmakers and their staff about the policy implications of work-family issues, the briefing papers are also a useful resource for advocates and activists lobbying for paid leave and other work-life policies at the state level. Index to Policy Briefing Paper series

The Work, Family, and Equity Index:
Where Does the United States Stand Globally?

Project on Global Working Families at Harvard University (www.hsph.harvard.edu/globalworkingfamilies). 2004. The Work, Family and Equity Index is the first venture to systematically define and measure successful public policies for working families globally. The Work, Family and Equity Index has two functions. First, the Index identifies essential goals for work-family policy based on the research evidence. Second, the Index enables us to examine individual country’s public policies for working families relative to global standards. Full report, 60 pages in PDF

The Work, Family Equity Index:
How Does the United States Measure Up

Jody Heymann, Alison Earle and Jeffrey Hayes, Global Project on Working Families, Feb 07. An update to the 2004 Work, Family Equity Index, the report finds that the United States lags behind all high-income countries, as well as many middle- and low-income countries, in providing paid childbirth-related leave, workplace protections for breastfeeding mothers, and family-friendly working time regulations. This analysis is particularly valuable as a capsule summary of the health and social benefits of breastfeeding protections, paid childbirth leave, paid sick days and working time regulations that allow parents to be more involved in children's education and after-school time. Full report, 15 pages, in .pdf

Babies and Bosses - Reconciling Work and Family Life:
A Synthesis of Findings for OECD Countries

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dec 2007. The report is the latest in a series of studies highlighting the relationship between workplace flexibility and public supports for working families and variables such as fertility rates, maternal employment, and child poverty in OECD countries. Highlights and index of resources

Comparative Child, Youth and Family Policies and Programs: Benefits and Services
The Clearinghouse on International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies at Columbia University (www.childpolicyintl.org). Comparisons of international policy and programs on parental leave, early childhood education and care, family allowances, tax benefits, work and family life, child support, more. Index in HTML

Helping America’s Working Parents:
What Can We Learn From Europe and Canada?

Janet C. Gornick and Marcia K. Meyers, The New America Foundation (www.newamerica.net). Nov 04. Based on a cross-national comparison of several key policy areas— paid parental leave, working time regulations, and public early childhood education and care– the reports authors found that the Nordic countries offer the most generous supports for working families and are more likely to adopt policies that promote gender equality in both paid and unpaid work, while continental European countries help secure time for caring and family and economic stability but do much less to enable or encourage gender equality— as a result, the traditional division of paid and unpaid labor between men and women is still prevalent in these countries. Issue brief, 19 pages in PDF

The Work-Family Balance:
An Analysis of European, Japanese, and U.S. Work-Time Policies

Janet Gornick, Alexa Herndon and Ross Eisenbrey, Economy Policy Institute/Agenda for Shared Prosperity, May 07. Policies aimed at reducing work time have typical been ignored in the United States as a way to help employees integrate paid work and family responsibilities -- although based on examples outside the US, family-friendly work-time policies seem to be effective. The authors propose three work-time policy goals for the United States: reducing the full-time work week to less than 40 hours; guaranteeing workers an adequate number of paid days, annually, away from the workplace; and raising the quality and availability of part-time work. Briefing Paper, 10 pages in .pdf

Getting Punched: The Job and Family Clock
It's Time for Flexible Work for Workers of All Wages

Jodie Levin-Epstein, Center for Law and Social Policy, Jul 06. The U.S. failure to address the realities of the family clock hurts businesses as well as working families, and that the nation's ability to retain its strength in the global market depends on its success in meeting the needs of the changing workforce. Levin-Epstein also reports that better support for working families may be more cost-effective than the general public tends to believe:
Full report, 32 pages in .pdf

Family Values at Work: It's About Time
9to5, MultiState Consortium, 2007. A report from a coalition of labor groups, public interest organizations, and community action and advocacy leaders calls for government action to assure minimum workplace standards meet the needs of the 21st century workforce. Full report, 44 pages in .pdf

Policy Proposal: Win-Win Flexibility
Karen Kornbluh, The New America Work & Family Program (www.newamerica.net), Jun.05. Work/life policy expert Kornbluh suggests a guarantee for the right of all parents of minor children and other family caregivers to formally request a modified work schedule -- either reduced and/or flexible work hours -- with proportional pay, benefits and advancement. Employers would be required to grant a request unless they could show that it would require "significant difficulty or expense entailing more than ordinary costs, decreased job efficiency, impairment of worker safety, infringement of other employees’ rights, or conflict with another law or regulation." Kornbluh notes that the effectiveness of her "Win-Win Flexibility" plan would depend on other policy expansions or enactments, including anti-discrimination laws protecting caregivers (which might make the use of family-friendly work policies more father-friendly), the right of all workers to paid sick and family leave, and guaranteed child care. 8 pages in .pdf

Support for Working Families
Janet C. Gornick and Marcia K. Meyers, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org), Jan 01. “Many parents in the industrialized countries find themselves navigating uncertain new terrain between a society that expects women to bear the primary responsibility for caring in the home and a society that expects, and increasingly requires, all adults to be at work in the market. Mothers and fathers are struggling to craft private solutions to this problem. But rather than resolving the question of who will care for children when everyone is on the job, these private solutions often exacerbate gender inequality, overburden the parents, and ultimately lead to poor-quality child care.” Full article in HTML

Regaining Control of Our Destiny:
A Working Families’ Agenda for America

Thomas A. Kochan, MIT Workplace Center (web.mit.edu/workplacecenter). 2004. Kochan insists that America’s working families need more flexibility to integrate work and family life; adequate education and life long learning; good jobs with adequate wages; a voice in the workplace and in society; and portable and secure benefits. He calls for collective action, a reformed, proactive labor movement and a new guiding principal for corporate governance: “Employees who invest and put at risk their human capital should have the same rights to information and voice in corporate governance as to investors who put at risk their financial capital.” Full Report, 140 pages in PDF

Integrating Work and Family Life: A Holistic Approach
Lotte Bailyn, Robert Drago, and Thomas A. Kochan, Sloan Work-Family Policy Network. 2002. “The challenge of integrating work and family life is part of everyday reality for the majority of American working families. While the particulars may vary depending on income, occupation, and stage in life, this challenge cuts across all socioeconomic levels and is felt directly by both women and men. We call upon working families to unite to improve these circumstances with the help of federal and state governments, employers, unions, and community organizations.” Executive Summary in PDF or Full Report in PDF

Workplace Flexibility: A Policy Problem
Karen Kornbluh, Katelin Isaacs and Shelley Waters Boots, The New America Foundation Work and Family Program (www.newamerica.net). May 04. “Americans working in the 21stCentury economy need the security of a full-time job with the flexibility of a part-time job. In order for this to occur, we must eliminate many of the policy induced distinctions between full-time and part-time positions. Full-time jobs must become more flexible and benefits must be extended to parttime and contingent jobs. In addition, new supports are needed that were not necessary fifty years ago when a parent was home full-time.” Policy brief, 6 pages in PDF

The Way We Work:
How Children and Their Families Fare In A 21st Century Workplace

Shelley Waters Boots for The New America Foundation (www.newamerica.net). Dec 04. “Public policies to support parents and their children have not kept pace with the changing workforce and the increased demands of the workplace. Often, parents working full-time lack the flexibility they need to meet the demands of family. Policy brief in PDF

Work-Family Policy Benefits Children
Fact sheet from The Program on WorkLife Law, American University, Washington College of Law (www.worklifelaw.org). Fact page in HTML

Women and Health Care: A National Profile
Kaiser Family Foundation (www.kff.org). July 2005. A new national survey of women on their health finds that a substantial percentage of women cannot afford to go to the doctor or get prescriptions filled. Although a majority of women are in good health and satisfied with their health care, many have health problems and do not get adequate levels of preventive care. The report also examines women’s health status, health care costs, insurance, access to care, prevention, and their role in family health care. Index to report and highlights (HTML).

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